Failed—Desmorious

Every writer has several projects initiated with gusto, abandoned with reluctance. My first was a forty-page novel in middle school—a Lord of the Rings knock-off called The War of the Bowl. In high school, my friend Jon Ying and I devised a western desperadoes-and-dragons webcomic called Dustbound. In college, I wrote rough drafts and buried them in the rough. Even now, as I revise my novel, I fear its future in a back-folder on Dropbox.

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Medicolegal Death

My wife and I went to see a medicolegal death investigator from the Douglas County Coroner’s Office discuss her profession—a presentation that was surprisingly lively. I thought I’d share a few interesting bits from the morbid monologue.

Naturally, the coroner was late a few minutes. Her Excuse? “Sorry, everyone, somebody died. No, really.”

According to her, a physician determines cause of death. But her job is to determine the manner of death. Both examine the body, but she also goes through the corpse’s effects, to the scene, to their homes and work places. Unlike the police, she doesn’t need a warrant.

The cause of death is something like this: stab wound to the heart. the initiation of the chain. The mechanism is what actually does the killing. So, stab wound? Mechanism: Exsanguination, i.e. blood-loss.

Cause: Pneumonia. Mechanism: Hypoxia, or lack of air, leading to organ failure.

As for manner? That’s the context of the killing.

She gave us the list of manners: homicide, suicide, natural, accident, undetermined. While the examiners will provide comprehensive data about the death, the manner ends up fitting into one of these five simple categories.

One of the coroner’s examples was an x-ray of a man with a nail in his skull. The point was near his ear, the dull hammerable bit in the center of his brain. Cause of death? A nail through the brain. But what was the manner?

After examining the wound, it’s entry, the equipment nearby, we determined the manner involved a nail gun. Judging by the angle, it was likely a suicide. He took a nail gun to his temple and blasted away.

We took cases (from out-of-state and with names removed) and had to determine manners of deaths. Mine was a guy who tried to prove a gun wasn’t loaded by putting it to his forehead and pulling the trigger. She called it a stupidicide but it was officially an accident.

We also looked at photos of grisly ends and did the same. There was a man who was struck by deer antlers. You could tell from the prong-pattern across his chest, the lacerations on his sides. There was someone who fell from a chair while fixing a lightbulb. Well, there was the chair, there was the lightbulb. We also looked at scenes without bodies and determined the cause of death. An alcoholic’s bed (the bottles, the trash basket, the sheets). A suicide by driving into a near-stationary bus (no skid marks).

One of my favorite anecdotes was about a skull she found. The examiner being a generalist, she passed on the item to an anthropologist, who determined the age and time period of the skull. She sent isotopes (water) to a lab and DNA to another lab. A femur was discovered with bite marks; this led her to find bone fragments in old bear scat. Within two weeks, they knew everything about this teenage girl, including how she was murdered.

The entire presentation was highly disturbing. I was appalled. My wife was enthralled. I hope she doesn’t get any ideas.

Someone else’s tumblr

Well didn’t I pick the perfect brand for my blog?

(Hint: sarcasm stirred with a dash of self-defeat and a weird smell, probably cheese coming off my beard.)

I chose Desmond, Write to be a call-to-the-craft, a personal reminder to “write already” or “go blog you dumb fart.” It helped that my slogan rhymed with my name: “Where Desmond White goes to Write.”

The problem? I’m not the only one to use desmondwrite.

Turns out, someone else has. Had? Did. Because today I found this on tumblr. Don’t want to click a mysterious link? Here’s a screenshot:desmondwritetumblrDiscovering my double has been an unsettling experience, a William Wilson of sorts, especially since this double is dedicated to a fandom I’ve evaded like ebola (averted like avian flu? bypassed like bronchitis? dodged like diphtheria? sidestepped like syphilis?). Which means for three years anyone curious as to whether I had a tumblr probably thought this was mine—this, a blog that begins its introduction with “Hello everypony.” If they were confused, if they thought I was joshing, they could check the bio where stands a blue pony in-miniature, a nag who’s probably named Crystalwit or Dusky Snufflebuns Jr.

Well. At least this writer has a better demographic than my blog of blah, specifically the multitude of My Little Pony fans. The site is clear about its intention to “entertain everypony” but unclear as to how—whatever the blogger intended was going to “involve literature,” maybe even “random things.” Unfortunately, the site appears abandoned, so we’ll never know. But what this tumblr lacks in prose, what it lacks in promise, it makes up for in permanence, because the thing has been sitting webside since 2015 without anything but an introduction—it persists.

Just to be clear. There’s no affiliation between my site and theirs. This blog has been up for longer and has more content. But I don’t want bad (sparkly) blood between us. Des, good luck, bro(ny). After all, as the subtitle of a popular horse-related franchise goes, friendship is magic.

Rune Bear—Launch

Rune Bear completed its launch with a series of flash fiction. Each of the editors published a 300-word piece in their respective domains. J. Motoki, our Strange Editor, wrote something creepy. Stuart, our Speculative Editor, an alt-future that plays around with humanity adapting to a new (radioactive) environment. Alyssa, Supernatural Editor, had some fun with the ‘princess turned into a cute forest critter’ trope. And I, acting as the judge of all things Surreal, made some kind of weird introduction to someone’s siblings. The intent was to showcase the kind of work we’re searching for, to present models and examples for future contributors.

Read, enjoy, submit something!

J. Motoki, Strange Editor, “Hydra

Desmond White, Surreal Editor, “These were my Brothers

Alyssa Warren, Supernatural Editor, “The Sparrow Queen

Stuart Warren, Speculative Editor, “Helmets